Weight Watchers Recipe of the Day: Easy American Hamburger Goulash (aka American Chop Suey)
(354 calories | 9 9 5 myWW *SmartPoints value per serving)
Today I’m sharing a recipe I’ve been eating since childhood, my mom’s recipe for goulash. She learned to make this simple ground beef and macaroni skillet dish by watching her friend’s mom make it back in the 1950s in a small town in rural coastal Maine.
American goulash is one of those recipes handed down through the generations that can be made in a wide variety of ways.
What is Goulash?
American goulash is completely different from the Hungarian version. It’s a quick and easy skillet dish of ground beef, onion, tomatoes, tomato soup and elbow macaroni. Think homemade from scratch Hamburger Helper, that was known as American Chop Suey at my local school cafeteria.
Hungarian Goulash, by comparison, is a long-simmering meat and vegetable stew seasoned with generous amounts of paprika.
The two dishes couldn’t be more different.
How To Make American Goulash?
There are lots of different variations of “hamburger goulash,” or “American Chop Suey,” out there. Some call for tomato sauce and others for jarred spaghetti sauce, but I don’t think they taste as good as this old-fashioned, classic version from my mom that calls for canned tomato soup. But, my tastebuds are biased because it’s the one they grew up on.
Mom’s hamburger goulash with elbow macaroni is comfort food at its best – quick, easy, tasty, and satisfying. I made it for my guys a few nights ago and Mac ate three servings. I can think of no better compliment for a cook.
It is also just the kind of food we can depend on in these uncertain economic times – simple, wholesome and inexpensive.
How Many Calories and WW Points in this Classic American Goulash Recipe?
According to my calculations, each serving has about 354 calories and:
9 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
9 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
5 *SmartPoints (Purple plan) (with whole grain macaroni)
9 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
Curious about Weight Watchers new myWW Green, Blue and Purple plans? Watch this short video to learn more:
Hamburger Goulash Recipe Substitutions & Variations
Meat: Though ground beef is traditional, any ground meat—chicken, turkey, pork, lamb—may be substituted. It could also be made vegetarian with the addition of meatless veggie crumbles.
Pasta shape: Elbow macaroni is traditional but any small cut of pasta will work.
Bulkier: To add more volume to your goulash for few calories, add more vegetables such as mushrooms, corn, zucchini, etc.
Thicker: I like to make this old-fashioned Goulash saucy. If you don’t, use one can of diced tomatoes instead of two. It also thickens up a lot as it sits to make it ahead of time. Many like it better as leftovers the day after when it has thickened and the flavors have melded.
Spicier: There are lots of way to add more flavor to suit your tastes. Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.
Southwestern/Chile Mac: For a spicy southwest/chile mac variation, add 1 cup of drained corn and 1-2 tablespoons chili powder when adding the tomatoes.
Cheesy: Stir in or top with your favorite grated or shredded cheese.
Vegetarian/Vegan: Substitute your favorite ground plant based crumbles for the ground beef.
What Should Your Serve with Classic American Goulash?
We always enjoyed our goulash with a simple green salad alongside. Most any vegetable makes a healthy accompaniment: zucchini, broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, etc.
If you’ve made this hamburger goulash, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it.
Easy American Hamburger Goulash
- 2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni (gluten-free if desired) (uncooked)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) tomato soup
- 2 cans (14-ounces each) diced tomatoes
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
- Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet, or dutch oven, over medium heat. Stir the ground beef, onion, and pepper into the skillet, breaking up the beef into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring often, until the beef is no longer pink and the onion and pepper are soft (5-8 minutes).
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato soup, cinnamon, and sugar. Simmer until heated thoroughly.
- Stir in the drained macaroni and combine well. (Alternatively, if your skillet isn't quite big enough, stir everything together in the pasta pan.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
More Easy Healthy Ground Beef Recipes for Weight Watchers
- Southwestern Hamburger Goulash – Inspired by flavors of the southwest
- Easy Taco Soup – easy and delicious soup with all the flavors of a taco
- Easy Hamburger Macaroni Soup – A simple warm and satisfying soup
- Easy Healthy Ground Beef Enchilada Skillet
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